Characters, Issues Grow Up With Riordan’s Readers

Lanie Catuogno

BY EMILY CHANG, JOURNALISM 1

house-of-hades-us-coverBooks transport the reader into an entirely different world. Most books make a good name because of their authors; the authors find a way to manipulate words into images and sentences into movies. Several books have made the headlines, including books such as the Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games series. Readers are always itching for the next book in the series, and recently, Rick Riordan published the fourth book in The Heroes of Olympus series: The House of Hades.

The Heroes of Olympus series is a continuation of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series also written by Rick Riordan. The two series retell Greek myths with modern twists. The books are aimed at a younger audience, around fifth through eighth grade, but many high schoolers still enjoy reading the series.

“I guess I kind of grew up with it,” freshman Riley Nelson says, “So I feel dedicated to the books, and a part of me still really wants to go on adventures with Percy and Annabeth.”

No matter what audience the books are directed at, there will still be loyal readers.

“I can’t leave a series hanging,” freshman Shaili Mehta says. “I’m one of those people who needs to finish a book series or I spaz.”

Some fans say they will never grow up.

“I’m an eight year old at heart,” Williams laughs.

As the fans of Percy Jackson grow older, and eventually age out of the audience the books are directed for, they still find ways to connect with characters that grow older as well. They are allowed to grow with the characters they’ve come to love. To maintain a sense of realism, authors allow their characters to develop complex storylines and experience the strifes of being a teenager.

“In The House of Hades, there are quiet moments where Riordan lets his characters grow and have more depth.” says a GoodReads contributor with the screen name Darlalala. “During these moments the readers get to know what type of person the character really is, and I personally enjoyed these moments.”

The House of Hades continues after the literal cliffhanger at the end of The Mark of Athena. Readers had high expectations for the book and were not disappointed.

“[Riordan] did an extremely good job reuniting [the characters],” freshman Dalton Williams says, “I really enjoyed the book.”

The House of Hades has sparked controversy for the revealing of a gay character. While critics protest that Riordan should not introduce a gay character in a book series directed at a younger audience., loyal fans stand behind Riordan’s decision.

“I really liked the fact that [the character] came out,” Nelson confesses, “It not only made him more multidimensional as a character, but it also started the path to making kids more comfortable with coming out or accepting others as homosexuals.”

Other fans weren’t surprised that the character was gay.

“I kinda expected that ever since [the character] was first introduced,” Williams says.

Rick Riordan explains his decision to introduce a gay character.

“It’s essential to me that readers find a variety of relatable, positive roles,” Riordan says. “Every child can be a hero. No child should be shunned or shamed for being different.”

The next book in the series, The Blood of Olympus, will be released Fall of 2014. Fans of the The Heroes of Olympus series wait anxiously for the last book in the series.